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Child 44 (Leo Demidov #1)

by Tom Rob Smith

In Stalin’s Soviet Union, crime does not exist. But still millions live in fear. The mere suspicion of disloyalty to the State, the wrong word at the wrong time, can send an innocent person to his execution.

Officer Leo Demidov, an idealistic war hero, believes he’s building a perfect society. But after witnessing the interrogation of an innocent man, his loyalty begins to waver, and when ordered to investigate his own wife, Raisa, Leo is forced to choose where his heart truly lies.

Then the impossible happens. A murderer is on the loose, killing at will, and every belief Leo has ever held is shattered. Denounced by his enemies and exiled from home, with only Raisa by his side, he must risk everything to find a criminal that the State won’t admit even exists.

On the run, Leo soon discovers the danger isn’t from the killer he is trying to catch, but from the country he is trying to protect.

Named one of the top 100 thrillers of all time by NPR and longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Child 44 is soon to be a motion picture from Lionsgate.


“An amazing debut — rich, different, fully formed, mature…and thrilling.”  Lee Child, New York Times bestselling author of Nothing to Lose

“Crackling…Smith’s prose is propulsive…His real genius is his careful plotting…an elaborate mystery.”  Entertainment Weekly

“One of the summer’s hottest thrill rides.”  USA Today

Child 44 is a remarkable debut novel – inventive, edgy and relentlessly gripping from the first page to the last.”  Scott Turow

Child 44 telegraphs the talent and class of its writer from its opening pages, transporting you back to the darkest days of post-war Soviet Russia with assured efficiency and ruthlessly drawing you into its richly atmospheric and engrossing tale.”  Raymond Khoury, bestselling author of The Last Templar and Sanctuary

Child 44 contrasts the bleakness of Stalinist Russia with a love story that unexpectedly and ironically blooms only because the lovers are nearly crushed by a relentless totalitarian regime hell bent on their destruction. As the two attempt to solve a series of brutal child murders the government is determined not to acknowledge, they must avoid being killed themselves in a simultaneous flight and pursuit across the wintry Russian landscape. Achingly suspenseful, full of feeling and of the twists and turns that one expects from Le Carre at his best, it’s a tale that grabs you by the throat and simply never lets you go.”  Robert Towne

“This is a truly remarkable debut novel. Child 44 is a rare blend of great insight, excellent writing, and a refreshingly original story. Favorable comparisons to Gorky Park are inevitable, but Child 44 is in a class of its own.”  Nelson DeMille


About Tom Rob Smith

Born in 1979 to a Swedish mother and an English father, Tom Rob Smith's bestselling novels in the Child 44 trilogy were international publishing sensations. Among its many honours, Child 44 won the International Thriller Writer Award for Best First Novel, the Galaxy Book Award for Best New Writer, the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award, and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award and the inaugural Desmond Elliot Prize. Child 44 is now a major motion picture starring Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace and Gary Oldman.


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